Some time ago, I had an opportunity thanks to Casey Graham to speak to a group of executive pastors. I was asked to give my perspective as a senior pastor, since each of them report to one. I thought you might also be interested in what I shared. Since I was addressing other issues in addition to this, I was limited on time, so I have added a few since I spoke with them.
Here are 10 things you may not know about a senior pastor:
- Leading from the number one position is overwhelming at times. We know Christ is ultimately in charge, but we also know it seems everyone looks to us to have all the answers.
- People tell the senior pastor all kinds of things about what is happening in their life or in the lives of others…many we would rather not know sometimes…and sometimes the weight of others problems we carry is enormous.
- Most pastors walk with uncertainty and insecurity. Depression is common for many senior pastors.
- Fear of failure is the number one fear of men…and senior pastors are not immune.
- Sometimes we allow fear to cause us to get protective. We protect ourselves, our territory, and our position.
- We face the same temptations and occasional spiritual dryness everyone else faces and know we need accountability.
- We have issues and struggles like people do, (in fact, we are people too) because of past failures or present fears.
- There is a loneliness of leadership and many pastors suffer from it.
- We seldom know who we can trust, which is why we become guarded. Most senior pastors have been burned by someone once trusted.
- We know the staff talks about us like they would any boss.
Granted, not every pastor faces each of these, and I happen to be in an extremely healthy church right now, but in talking with dozens of senior pastors each year…and being one…I know this is a representative list for many. Senior pastors find joy in our work and know we are in the center of God’s will vocationally. I don’t intend to take anything away from that in this post. We serve in a called position, so we are doing what we have been asked of God to do. When I share any post like this, however, I have come to expect a lecture on the need to depend on Christ for these issues, which only further demonstrates my points further. Senior pastors are to fully rely on Christ’s strength, as is every other believer. We just happen to be like Elijah…”a man just like us”. (James 5:17)
Senior pastors, what would you add?
If you are not a senior pastor, do you experience some or all of these?